Moods of Kerala
The auspicious birth of January sparks silver-gold rays of sun in the whole-healthy body of Kerala. The sun god starts beaming its oxy-filled rays right from 6.30 am from mountains in the east. It bids good-bye at about 6.30 pm and disappear in the Arabian sea at west. Night gives cold.
The breeze and wind percolate forests and plains alike without any discrimination. The palm leaves and tree leaves start dancing according to the rhythm and intensity of breeze-wind brothers. Aged leaves mercifully succumb to the fate in the ground . The foliage below is reddish brown in semi-dead state.
Lady-folks friendly vie with one another to harvest more. The scene of hand-harvesting and yellow stacks of paddy on women-heads are vanishing slowly as mechanization is taking root.
Arecanut and tamarind pads ripen on the trees are eager to kiss the earth. Mango and cashew blossoms weight down on the branches. The aged blossoms dot the ground. Pepper in the sun-blanket in courtyards mutely acries of de-hydration while jack fruits are impatient to mature. Rubber-milk yield improves. Coconut palms give improved yields to their masters.
Some of the temples and churches get face-lift, heralding their annual festival.
Major Festivals :
Arthungal Perunnal (Perunnal means church festival in Malayalam). At St Andrews Forance church, Arthungal, in Alappuzha district.Devotees of all religions, who have recovered from serious accidents or illness make a pilgrimage there.
Parthasarathy Gajamela. Temple festival. At Adoor in Pathanamthitta district.
Kodikuthu Chandrakudam. Mosque festival at Kanjiramattom Mosque in Ernakulam district.
Nilambur Pattu. A cosmopolitan festival at Nilambur in Malappuram district.
Thaipooya Mahotsavam. Temple festival. Subramanyaswami temple at Haripad in Alappuzha district. Shree Mahaeshwara temple in Thrissur district. And hundreds of other temples throughout Kerala where diety is Subramanya.
Thunchan Festival at Tirur in Malappuram district. A cultural festival.
Thiruvappana temple festival at Parassinikadavu in Kannur district.
Kodikuthu festival (Chandanakudam). Mosque festival at Kanjiramattam mosque in Ernakulam district.
Low intensity heat starts ruling the day. Subdued breeze in the morning and evening. Coconut palms thrust out more monthly yield. Tender coconut drink (full of glucose) quenches the thirst. Its soft flesh sub-sides appetite.
Paddy looks aged, waiting to be butchered. Ripen arecanuts tired of sticking to the stem. Eager to come down. Coconut palms, arecanut palms, plantains get their share of water for survival. From ponds, wells and rivers through motorized pumps. Jack fruits and mangoes nearing maturity. Cashew benevolently commences giving annual yield to its masters. The rubber-milk yield improves. Coconut monthly yield on stepped up scale.
Attukal Pongala. 10-day long temple restival. At Attukal Bhagavathi temple near Thiruvananthapuram.
Maramon Convention. Asia’s largest Christian gathering. At Maramon in Pathanamthitta district.
Kettukazhacha. Temple festival. At Chettikulangara in Alappuzha district.
Chittoor Konganpada. Temple festival. At Chittoor in Palakkad district.
Puthunagaram Theruvathupalli Nercha. Mosque festival at Aloor in Palakkad district.
Hundreds of festivals take place all over Kerala during February.
Merciless sun. Hot days. Low humidity in night. Agriculture irrigation, order of the day. Paddy crop matured. Mangoes nearing maturity. Coconut palms give improved yield. Rubber-milk yield at peak. Jackruits in slow ripening stage. Cashewnut yield touches top. Arecanut yield on top scale. The sun-blanket de-hydrates pepper in courtyards.
Breeze and wind abscond. Night humidity nose-dives. Fields turn brown and hard. Water-level in wells and pods go down. Irrigation on routine scale. Most evenings dark clouds ply past the sky. At some nights the clouds drop mild showers. If luck persists, the clouds sprinkle heavy showers in the night.
Tender coconut or salted lime-juice water wards off thirst. School children march to exam halls for terminal exams. SSLC students (matriculation) establish their talent in terminal examination.
Arattupuzha pooram. Temple festival at Arattupuzha in Thrissur district.
Thrissur pooram. Temple festival at Vadakkumnathan Kshetrtam in Thrissur town.
Kodungallur Bharani. Temple festial. At Kodungallur in Thrissur district.
Malanada Kettukazhcha. Temple festival. At Malanada near Adoor in Pathanamthitta district.
Nenmara Vellangi Vela. Temple festival at Nellikulangara temple, Nenmara, in Palakkad district.
Kodiyettu, Ashtami festival and Elephant race. Temple festival and practice at Guruvayur Sree Krishna temple in Thrissur district.
Trichambaram Mahotsav. Temple festival at Thaliparambu in Kannur district.
Pazhayangadi Nercha. Mosque festival at Pazhayangadi mosque, Kondotty in Malappuram district.
Some of these festivals may occur in April. , The change occurs owing to variations in Malayalam and English months.
Furry sun. Heat upto 35 degree C. Birds seek shades to escape scorching sun. They leave the sky at 10 am to come again after 4 pm. No bird calls, no wings spreading during this time. Come afternoon, they flap the wings and scream in the sky. The fields are brown. Tufts of paddy dotted. The grass in the plain died down.
Cashew apples change the colour of ground. Fermented air pervades. Either side of the high-ways highlight piles of jack fruits. Outstation truck drivers bargain and pick up.
Water levels nose-dive. Exhaustion lit large in everybody. Enthusiasm dies down. Tender coconut, salted lime-juice water and butter-milk come to the rescue.
Clouds resort to hide and seek. At times they lose grip. Drops kiss the earth. A great relief.
Schools closed for two months after terminal exams. The cricket-craze boys captivate the vacant fields and grounds. Hospitals gear up to intake student patients as additional. Mostly with broken or fractured legs or broken hands. The parents are anxious and worried . Till the schools re-open.
The nights seem longer. Humidity at low ebb. Fireflies refuse to spread wings.
The months of February, March and April are literally the months of festivals. Each day dozens of festivals.
The major festivals listed in March hold good for April as well. These festivals vacillate between March and April according to Malayalam month.
The summer beat continues unabated. Absence of rains in March or April results in droughts in some pockets. Intermittent rains accompanied by thunders give succor. Irrigation to agriculture paces down.
Colleges too come in vacation list. Annual routine. Fields and grounds under the unsafe custody of student-community. Crickets and footballs in all available spaces. Parents pray come fast the re-opening day of schools and colleges.
Jack fruits juicy smell pervades around jack trees. Shortage of climbers or unreasonable climbing wage force the farmers to abandon the yield. The fruits meet the fate in the earth. Arecenut palms emptied yield. Start flowering for the next season. Coconut monthly yield goes down. The slow-down process continues till November end. The plantains meant for Onam are pregnant.
Cattles graze in the rice fields. Occasional showers signal the arrival of monsoon in last week or first of of June. Breeze takes the form of wind and scrapes through.
The juicy tiny (basket ball type) mango fruit with a pin-hole finds its way to the mouth of children. Mouth waters with lasting sweetness and taste. No thirst or hungry, the play lasts till sun-set.
Come afternoon the craws and their species linger to coconut palm leaves and tree branches.
Grass re-born. Sheds brown colour. Wears green. Green carpet all around. The summer bids good-bye by month-end.
Temple and church and mosque festivals near block end.
Edathua Feast. At St George Forane church in Alappuzha district.
Kottiyur pooram. Temple festival at Shiva temple, Kottiyur, Kannur district.
Sree Sankara jayanti. At Kalady in Ernakulam district.
Clouds circle all around the sky, seeking destination. Finally settles in north-west corner -the Arabian sea. Discharge thunder and lightning. Burst into heavy water-bulbs. The deafening thunder and the glittering lightning punch the water-rays. Children go beneath cots or tables.
The first day of June children bee-line to school. They prefer going holding their mothers hands. Some crying. Some laughing. Some jollying. Usually the 1st June douses the school children in rain-waster.
The earth drinks bellyful. Sustains growth. People sigh of scorching heat and politicians hoohahs. At least 2 months. The furry of monsoon continues till July end. Banana cultivated for Onam starts flowering.
The rain causes melancholy. Clouds blanket the sun. Even a warrant cannot produce the sun. Palm leaves in tears. Birds nestle in.
Temple, church or mosque festivals are scarce.
Ochira Martial Arts festivals. At Ochira temple in Kollam district.
Prathishtadinam. At Sabarimala temple in Pathanamthitta district.
Chambakulam boat race. At Chambakulam in Alappuzha district. The fore-runner to seasons boat races.
Clouds stationary at south-west corner. Sun un-noticed. Even a warrant cannot produce the sun. A black umbrella over Arabian sea. Thunder and lightning scale down. Pouring intensifies. A deep oozy fragrance. No field activities. The farm workers count the days to tide over. Farmers depending coconut faces odd days. Slippy palms keep the climbers at bay. Moss grows. Drenched clothes. Sales in shops plummet.
Nothing of the sort.
The fury of rains subsides. Rays of sun sparkle occasionally. Flowers blossom. Golden banana bunches everywhere. Long-yellow-ripe banana bunches hung in vegetable stalls, tea stalls and all possible outlets.
Moon whitens the sky. The stars plot the sky. Palm leave s rustle. The winds cruise past. Occasional drizzles. School children prepare for 1st term exam. Activities all around. Wild yam blooms.
Government oils its machinery to receive and celebrate Onam. Shops and branded items put out newspaper and channels ads to lure the customers. Onam gift offers for purchases are galore. Government sets up fair-price markets for consumer items in all district head-quarters. Government’s official Onam celebrations set on motion. BPL (below poverty line) school children get 5-kg free rice per head from the government to celebrate Onam.
Shops and branded items make about 40% of their annual sales during Onam.
Ashtamirohini. Temple festival. At all Sree Krishna temples. More important at Guruvayur in Thrissur district, Ambalappuzha and Aranmula in Alappuzha district and Adoor in Pathanathitta district.
Onam. Harvest/National festival. All over Kerala.
Urul Nercha. Mosque festival. At Ashtamudi in Kollam district.
Attachamayam. Onam eve-festival at Thripunithura in Ernakulam district.
Neelamperoor padayani. Temple festival. At Pallibhagavathy temple, Neelamperoor, Kottayam district.
Nehru boat race. In Punnamada backwaters, Alappuzha district.
Payippad boat race. In Payyippad, near Haripad, Alappuzha district.
Uthrattadi Vallamkali ( boat race). At Aranmula, Pathanamthitta district.
Putharipady Harvest festival. At Kuttiatoor in Kasargod district.
Golden banana rules the State. On the roads men walk with banana bunch. In homes the fragrance spreads. Of boiled ripe-banana and pappadam puffed.
Palm leaves rustle. Breeze massages vegetation. Occasional drizzles clean the earth. The laziness of the monsoon wears out. Farm workers a happy lot in the farms. At times cloud gathers strength and moves to southwest direction. Within minutes heavy down-pour. No longer life. Only few minutes life. Sky steers clear. Flowers spray fragrance. A festival look all around. Birds and flies set out to enjoy freedom.
The festivals cataloged in August occur either in August or September. The days of festivities move up or down every year.
The clouds change course. Move to north-east corner and camp above western ghats. Waiting to burst in the afternoons. The down-pour does not last long. No daily play. Deafening thunder. Frightening lightning. Not all days.
The day begins brightly. Sun sparks glittering rays. No cloud till afternoon. Afternoon wears obscure. Showers begin. Workers leave field early.
In farms, workers busy. Banana corners first preference in the cultivation agenda. Rotten plantain stems uprooted. Sapling selected. Pits made. Planting in full swing. Month-end is deadline. To catch-up the next Onam with timely produce.
Coconut, arecanut, rubber an d other crops receive their share of food.
Paddy fields readying to accept inputs for next crop.
Chandanakudam. Mosque festival. At Beemapally, Thiruvananthapuram.
Deepavali. A Hindu religious and devotional festival. All over Kerala. All over India.
Koratty Muthy’s Feasty. At St Mary’s Forane church, Koratty, Thrissur district.
Mahanavami. A Hindu religious and devotional festival. All over Kerala. All over India.
Clear, white sky. At times snow-white. Warm, breezy days. Nights misty. Occasionally the breeze turns violent and behaves windy. Minor drizzles.
Lush-green fields. No heat. No perspiration.
Trees rear tender leaves. Jack, mango and cash trees flower. Butterflies fill their bellies with sweet liquids from cashew and mango flowers. Birds sing and fly. Luminescence moon.
Black-robed pilgrims everywhere. All male-folks. Rare exception. They occasionally chant – saranamayyappa – (Lord Ayyappa , come to succour). It soothes the air.
Ekadasi. Temple festival. At Guruvayur Sree Krishna temple and Triprayar Sree Rama temple. Both in Thrissur district.
Kalpathy Ratholsavam. A religious and temple oriented festival. At Kalpathy in Palakkad district.
Panthranduvilakku Mahotsavam. Temple festival at Ochira temple in Kollam district.
Winds. Cold nights. Wind generates from western ghats. Passes west direction. As matching response, at times, Arabian sea generates wind and force to go east. Impatient tree tops. Always in action. Coconut and arecanut palm tops agitate. Vociferous protest. Mist welcomes morning. Delayed wake-ups.
Children readying for 2nd term exam. Farm workers busy, preparing for irrigation to the banana, coconut and arecanut palms.
Churches busy in face-lift operation. Government machinery in full swing action. Fair-priced Christmas markets of government come up in all district head-quarters. On grant scale. Shops and branded items lure customers with Christmas gift offers.
Christmas. All over Kerala.
Kochi Carnival. At Kochi
Sivagiri festival. At Varkala in Thiruvananthapuram district.
Theyyam festival. At Kasargod.
Mandalapooja. At Dharmasastha temple, Kulathupuzha, Kollam district.